Reid: Boehner will compromise on immigration reform
December 21st, 2013
03:09 PM ET
9 years ago

Reid: Boehner will compromise on immigration reform

Washington (CNN) - He will cave.

Despite his public statements to the contrary, House Speaker John Boehner will meet with Senate leaders to negotiate comprehensive immigration reform in 2014 - at least, Harry Reid says he will.

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In an interview with The Hill, the Senate Majority leader says he thinks the Speaker, emboldened against tea party groups, will take the issue up in conference with the Senate.

“I think that John Boehner will conference with the Senate. Why wouldn’t he? He’ll have a lot of pressure from his members now that the election is getting closer,” Reid said.

Reid, D-Nevada, argues that popular support for an immigration deal will push members of Boehner's caucus toward a deal. Boehner, who recently stood up to more conservative elements of his party in supporting the debt deal, will lead the way, according to Reid.

“Some of his members are in very marginal districts where they need to do something on immigration,” Reid said.

All signs from the Speaker's office, however, still say no. Like other Republicans, Boehner has said he favors a piece-by-piece approach.

"I'll make clear we have no intention ever of going to conference on the Senate bill," he said last month, adding, "I want us to deal with this issue, but I want to deal with it in a common-sense, step-by-step way."

The 1200-page Senate bill includes increased border security and patrolling, as well as a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the country illegally.

It is the latter element that has outraged conservatives. Many decried the move as "amnesty," with the backlash so strong that even Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who authored the Senate bill, moved to support the House's piecemeal approach.

"I think when you try to do anything big in Washington it ends up running into headwinds. Now that's the direction the Senate went. I wanted to influence that process so I got involved in it. But I continue to believe that a series of sequential individual bills is the best way, the ideal way, to reform our immigration system," said Rubio in an interview with CNN anchor Kate Bolduan.

But Reid believes the time is ripe for Boehner to stand up to the conservative elements of his party - and some of the Speaker's recent public statements have convinced Reid that Boehner is ready.

“I was very impressed with his saying, as far as I’m concerned, what was long overdue. The government shutdown, it was being driven by these people he criticized,” said Reid. Boehner accused grassroots conservative groups of "using our members and using the American people for their own goals" at a news conference on December 11.

“I think it’s a hopeful sign that that caucus is not going to be driven off a cliff as much as they were in the past,” Reid said.

Immigration reform has been a top priority of President Barack Obama's second-term agenda, and momentum appears to be growing as outside groups, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, put pressure on Washington and polling shows continued support.

It remains to be seen what, if any, legislation will make it to the House floor next year, especially as 2014 will start with what looks to be another battle.

–CNN's Conor Finnegan contributed to this report.

Filed under: Harry Reid • Immigration • John Boehner
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. rs

    Any deal should include a wall on the southren border. The hard truth no one wants to talk about is that our country is becoming overpopulated.
    Let me know when the EIS is done on that wall- that ought to take 20 years or so. Then, be real sure to let us all know how much you want your taxes raise to cover that little construction. The Steel Nogales border runs about $2.5 million a mile.
    Meanwhile the U.S. has one of the lowest population growth rates in the west (or anywhere else). You can't imagine these immigrants as being people who pay taxes and buy goods, right? That's why the CBO says immigration reform boosts the economy and lowers the debt and deficit.

    December 21, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. haloguy628

    It's now official. Harry Reid is insane. Next time he shows on Senate floor please remove him in a straitjacket.

    December 21, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  3. Bob

    That would figure, the only thing the GOP is correct about NO amnesty (pretty name but still amnesty) and they better now change. We have laws so why not enforce them. Boehner – tell them to make E-verify mandatory nationwide with huge fines/jail for violators then talk to them.

    December 21, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. Balls of Steel

    I don't know about yours but my Boehner doesn't bend it just leans to the left a bit.

    December 21, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. rams1956

    This is just beyond the pale. The press is refusing to do its job in responsible reporting. They are not immigrants, they are illegals. Report the truth. Whether they should stay or be deported is based on law. if you want to write an article on that do it, but dont distort your article with the main purpose of deception. Call them what they are, right or wrong. Have some integrity in writing. Thinking you are so smart with these tricks detracts from what was once a noble profession!

    December 21, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. John

    I read these ports and it is a sadness how alienated we all are. But to function we HAVE to find a middle. This is where the extreme right fails-they can see no middle-and so this where they fall off the charts forever. It moves left because it moves and there in nowhere to go on the right.

    December 21, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. JohnRJohnson

    Boehner will NEVER bend on anything. He's too brittle.

    December 21, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  8. haloguy628

    It's now official. Harry Reid is insane.

    December 21, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. rams1956

    Why are we to feel sorry for those who break our federal laws and enter this country illegally???? They shouldn't be here ... end of story. Every person who sneaks into this country and squats here for years and then claims they've been here for years and deserve citizenship is spitting in the face of those who followed the rules and did the work to become a LEGAL citizen. You don't do that, I have no sympathy for you if you get found out and get deported. You took that risk and whatever comes your way is of your own making.

    December 21, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. george

    By the time boehner wana negotiote an immigration bill with senate half of the 12m will be deported and thousant of families will be separated. For god sake pass the senate bill and stop dragging and postponing this human issue sooner or later we have to solve it.
    Why all this delay????

    December 21, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. rams1956

    Please – there is a significant difference between and immigrant and an illegal alien. An immigrant is someone that applies to the USICS to immigrate to the US, has a background check done, pays the fees, waits for an opening and receives a visa to travel to the US with the intent to become a citizen. An illegal alien is someone that comes into the US illegally, without a background check, without paying the fees, and without a visa, but with the intent to manipulate our political system to eventually give them a wavier from the legal process. When will the media and the liberals figure out this difference and take the appropriate action to enforce our immigration laws and make it easier for people that cannot walk across our borders to immigrate legally?

    December 21, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. Mike

    "Reid: Boehner will compromise on immigration reform"

    Not if he wants to keep his job he won't.

    December 21, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. Jake

    Any Rep. that votes with the Dems on Immigration will be voted out of office. We have had enough.

    December 21, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. Bill

    Although I'm lean more progressive, immigration is one issue I've usually been pretty conservative on. That being said, I do think Reid is right about the GOP bending on immigration, simply because they need to broaden their appeal if they ever want a chance at winning a presidential election again. No, they're not going to get the majority of latino voters overnight, but compromising on immigration reform would help them get a bigger chunk of the latino vote. Despite what I think will happen, I would like to see more stalemate on immigration reform because I think rewarding illegal aliens for violating our immigration laws as well as our borders is wrong.

    December 21, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  15. Harlon Katz

    I sure hope that the Republicans in the House don't give into the Democrat's amnesty bill for illegals. There needs to be some respect for those that followed the long process and came here legally.

    Stop the amnesty.

    December 21, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. jim weber

    Reid just needs to shut up

    December 21, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. brawma

    Reid,don't you think you've done enough damage?

    December 21, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. brawma

    Reid, haven't you done enough damage?

    December 21, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. Daniel

    Comprehensive Immigration Reform NOW!!
    No more lies.

    December 21, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. Tampa Tim

    Smith – guns were lost during wide receiver, you lie!

    December 21, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  21. just saying

    democrats think if they start with this immigration reform train wreck it will distract the entire country from the outgoing and massive destruction of our healthcare system by obamacare. and the last thing i want is some 2400 page bill from the democrats lying about how great the reform will be, if you like your country, you can keep your country, everything will be great and we'll all save money. seriously....the american people will not be conned again by the democrats. the fact is they don't give a damn about the average american.

    December 21, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. Just

    Meanwhile, actual citizens have a hard time getting those part time low wage jobs........and is there any amnesty plan for actual citizens who break existing laws?

    December 21, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. Badboy

    What else can harry talk about...more lies about Obamacare. It isn't the Rethugs that are on the ropes but
    the BIG govt Demwits and OblameO. For once that goof has accepted responsibility for something SORT OF!
    Im sorry you didn't understand...if you like your lies you can keep telling them Obungle of the Jungle!

    December 21, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Dems buying votes...all it is.

    December 21, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. Cheryl

    We don't need reform. We need enforcement.

    December 21, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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